Volkswagen Hops Onboard Gypsy Cab Rabbit

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen "Gypsy Cab Project"
A rabbit ran wild in the streets of New York for two full weeks in June, and the city's pest control services didn't lift a finger. That's because the lagomorph in question was actually a Volkswagen Rabbit, set loose by Crispin, Porter + Bogusky as part of an online campaign dubbed the Gypsy Cab Project. Filmmaker, Colorado native and NYC driving virgin Steve Capstick was sent to the Big Apple with a mission: prove the Rabbit is the perfect car for city driving by delivering 100 free cab rides in 14 days in the city that never sleeps. "New York City is the scariest place in the world to drive—it's as simple as that," says creative director Rob Strasberg, a former New Yorker himself. "And for a person who's never been there before, it's the perfect place to let him loose to meet people and get lost and see what happens. It's the cultural center of the world, and if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere."

Steve's Rabbit was rigged with four spy cameras and four microphones to capture his conversations with his all-too-trusting fares. The recorded footage was simultaneously fed through a wi-fi signal to laptops aboard an equipment van that tailed the Rabbit throughout the duration of the project. "It was the most technologically advanced low-tech production in history," laughs Strasberg.

But as it turns out, the most complicated operation may have been getting people to hop into the car in the first place. "There were a lot more rejections than successful fares for sure," says Strasberg. "It's interesting, a large percentage of people we got are not from New York. People from out of town were more likely to get in the car, while real New Yorkers would just turn their heads and not even make eye contact. But Steve learned how to charm people into the cab as he went along, and he got more successful." And believe it or not, Steve managed to make it through the entire two weeks with no real traffic mishaps. "A couple of cops yelled at him to keep it moving when he'd pull over to talk to people, but that's pretty much it," says Strasberg. "And there was a little fender bender, but nothing serious!"

As for Steve himself? He's made the jump from temporary cabbie to full-timer at Crispin, having been hired as an in-house director/editor/comedian at the agency's Boulder office. "He was really well liked, he brought a lot of creative ideas to the project, and he just happened to live out in Boulder," says Strasberg. "He had actually sent us a reel with clips of his TV show [Lunchbreak, an interview show on local cable in Colorado] a few months back, and we thought he was funny then, but didn't know what to do with him. So when this Rabbit idea came up, we knew we had the perfect guy."
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